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NAJAF

NAJAF. A religious center of the Shi`is since the eighth century, Najaf is located in Iraq, south of Baghdad and 6 miles west of Kufa. It is the site of the mash-had of the first Shi'i imam, `Ali ibn Abli Talib, whose gravesite was revealed to the public in the early 'Abbasid period by Ja'far al-Sadiq (d. 765) during one of his visits to Kufa. Under al-Sadiq and his disciples, Najaf also became heir to the Shi'i learning that had flourished in Kufa, where in the grand mosque, al-Sadiq's hadiths ...more

AYATOLLAH.

AYATOLLAH. Derived from the terms dyat (sign, testimony, miracle, verses of the Qur'an) and Allah (God), ayatollah ("sign of God"), is an honorific title with hierarchical value in Twelver Imamite Shiism, bestowed by popular usage on outstanding mujtahids, with reference to Qur'an 41.53. The sense of this title can be traced to the need for legitimacy sought by the Shi`i `ulama' during the absence of the twelfth imam, the Master of the Age, in the end of the greater occultation, from 94o to the ...more

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